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Roach wants Cotto to fight Canelo vs. GGG winner

Canelo Alvarez Freddie Roach Gennady Golovkin

By Dan Ambrose: Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) could face the winner of the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin fight if he gets past his match against Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs) in 9 days from now on August 26 at the SturbHub Center in Carson, California.

Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach says he wants him to fight the winner of the Canelo-Golovkin fight, and not the loser of that fight. The 5’8” Canelo (49-1-1, 34 KOs) obviously is the guy that Cotto, 5’7”, would likely prefer to fight rather than Golovkin, who is a quite a bit taller at 5’10 ½”, and probably much too powerful. More importantly, Canelo is a pay-per-view star, and he would bring a big payday to Cotto if the two were to face each other in a rematch on HBO PPV in December. That’s when Cotto wants to put a wrap on his boxing career.

Cotto, 36, already lost to Canelo by a controversial 12 round unanimous decision 2 years ago on November 21, 2015. The judges scored it 118-110, 119-109 and 117-111. The scoring was bad for that fight. It looked more like a close decision win for Canelo. With the way, the 3 judges were giving Canelo round after round, Cotto would have needed a knockout, because the judges were ignoring the good work that he was doing.

“Kamegai, we know, is a very, very tough opponent,” said Roach to Behind the Gloves. “He does open up a bit and tends to be wild with his punches. We got to work the body and break he body down and take him out in the later rounds.”

Cotto vs. Kamegai will be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing on August 26. The two fighters will square off to fight for Canelo’s recently vacated WBO junior middleweight title. The title is vacant now. There’s been some criticism of the World Boxing Organization for their choice to elevate the inactive Cotto to No.1 in their organization even though he hasn’t fought since November 2015, and he’s coming off of a loss instead of a win. Being ranked No.1 by a sanctioning body should mean something. Ideally, fighters that are given a high No.1 ranking should be A. active fighters competing at least once or more per year. B. They shouldn’t be coming off of a defeat. Being ranked at No.1 loses its meaning when you see fighters like Cotto recving that high ranking after losing his last fight and not fighting in almost 2 years. Cotto’s last win was over 2 years ago when he beat Daniel Geale by a 4th round knockout in their catch-weight fight on June 6, 2015. It would be interesting to know what the WBO’s says about what goes into their decision making to rank inactive fighters or fighters that are coming off of a defeat.

“He told me he’s going to retire,” said Roach about Cotto retiring at the end of 2017. “His work output is great. What I see, he’s still a great fighter and can beat a lot of guys out there. If he beats Kamegai to win another title, who knows who’s next? It’ll probably be a high quality top opponent, because that’s how he wants to go out. Go out in a win over Canelo in a rematch or Triple G, but we’re not going to discuss that until after the Kamegai fight. We have to win here first and not jump ahead,” said Roach.

That would be a great way for Cotto to end his career by fighting the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight. It would show the boxing fans that Cotto has courage if nothing else at this point in his career. But, I do not view as having a chance of beating the winner or the loser of the Canelo vs. GGG fight. The 2 years of inactivity by Cotto was a dumb move on his part, and he likely lost a significant portion of his boxing skills. I see Cotto as food for Canelo and Golovkin. He would be too easy at this point. Cotto’s last win over a really good fighter that wasn’t over-the-hill or injured in some way was back in 2009 when he beat Joshua Clottey. That’s an awful long time ago. Cotto’s wins since then have come against these fighters:

– Sergio Martinez – Bad knee at the time Cotto fought him

– Delvin Rodriguez – B-level fighter that was no longer in his prime when Cotto fought him

– Antonio Margarito – Coming off of 3 eye surgeries when Cotto fought him. Fight was stopped due to swelling in Margarito’s surgically repaired right eye.

– Daniel Geale – Not the fighter that he once was by the time Cotto fought him in 2015. Geale had recently been knocked out by Golovkin in 3 rounds in 2014 and beaten by Darren Barker in 2013. In Geale’s first fight after his loss to Cotto, he was stopped in the 2nd round by Renold Quinlan. This is the same Quinlan who Chris Eubank Jr. stopped in the 10th round last February in a one-sided fight.

– Ricardo Mayorga – Over-the-hill at the time Cotto beat him in March 2011.

– Yuri Foreman – He fought Cotto with a bad knee. Foreman’s weak knee caused him to limp around the ring until the fight was stopped in the 9th round on June 5, 2010.

Roach needs to focus on trying to get Cotto past the 34-year-old Kamegai first before he starts talking about wanting to match Cotto against the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight. Roach doesn’t make the decisions in which Cotto fights. If Canelo loses to Golovkin, it’s extremely doubtful that Cotto will fight Golovkin. I don’t see Cotto choosing Golovkin. More likely, Canelo will wait until Canelo gets a win under his belt before facing him in 2018. Cotto hasn’t ruled out coming back next year to fight again. He says he’s going to fight in December, and then he’ll decide after that in which direction he wants to take his career.

”After this fight, I’m going to rest, and then see what we have on the table,” said Cotto.

Cotto is going to need to make sure he gets past Kamegai before he starts planning his future. This could be a much tougher fight than Cotto and Roach realizes. Kamegai is arguably little more than a high-level journeyman in terms of ability, but he’s tall, powerful and he’s been active with his boxing career.

Cotto has been enjoying his life outside of the ring for 2 years. Cotto is wealthy, and he doesn’t need to sweat like other fighters that haven’t made a fortune inside the ring. During the same 2-year time period that Cotto has been out of action, Kamegai has fought 2 times in grueling bouts against Jesus Soto Karass. Those were real wars from start to finish. Cotto is going to have to hope that Kamegai doesn’t bring a war to him on August 26, because he could wear him down the same way that Antonio Margarito did in their first fight in 2008. Margarito stopped Cotto in the 11th round.

Kamegai, 5’9”, is a little shorter than the 5’11” Margarito, but he shares the same great chin, high work rate, and nonstop pressure style that the Mexican warrior possesses. Cotto was worn down by Margarito in that first fight. Cotto’s fights since then have come largely against boxers rather than pressure fighters. Cotto lost to Canelo, but he didn’t have to deal with pressure in that fight. If Kamegai is able to put a lot of pressure on Canelo, he might wear down and get stopped.

”No, I don’t think we’d have the chance to pick the loser of that fight,” said Roach in ruling out Cotto fighting the loser of the Canelo-Golovkin fight. “It would be embarrassing. You can’t pick the guy that lost the fight. You’ll have to pick the winner. The winner of that fight will be one of our choices, I’m sure,” said Roach.

I don’t think Cotto will have any problems fighting Canelo with him coming off of a knockout loss to Golovkin. I still think Cotto would prefer to fight Canelo than getting inside the ring with Golovkin and getting bludgeoned into the canvas. Golovkin would do everything that Margarito did in the first fight with Cotto, but much faster. Cotto wouldn’t stand a chance against Golovkin. The only reason Cotto did well against Canelo is because he’s mostly a slapper, as Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez says. Canelo has one dangerous punch and that’s his uppercut. If you take that punch away from him, he’s just a slapper with his left hook and right hand. Canelo does knockout fragile-chinned fighters though with his left hooks and right hands.

I’d like to see Cotto fight the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight, but I think it’s going to end up with him fighting the loser of that match if Golovkin wins it. If Cotto doesn’t care about getting the biggest payday possible, then he should forget about fighting Canelo or Golovkin. He should face WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders if he can somehow get ranked at No.1 by the WBO at 160. That’s a much more winnable fight for Cotto than facing Canelo or GGG, and getting pulverized by the two. Cotto would be out of his league to fight Canelo or Golovkin after 2 years out of the ring. Kamegai doesn’t count as preparation for either of those fighters.

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